Monday, January 31, 2011

Harvest Monday - 31 Janauary 2011

Oh so much to talk about today. No, no harvests. The tunnel is still buried in snow and no thaws in sight. But I have been using my harvest, finished part of my experiment, and started my spread sheet tally. I'll start with what I've been eating.

As usual when my husband is out of town, I made a batch of soup to eat up over several days. This time it was black bean soup. It is an easy recipe. Black beans, salsa, broth, cumin, and salt. I cooked the Trail of Tears black beans (from the garden) the day before. The salsa was canned from my tomatoes and peppers. The broth was made from a chicken raised by a friend of my townhouse mate. Sadly the cumin was bought from the store. I did try to grow cumin last year but all the seedlings died very quickly. I'm trying again this year. Anyway I whiz it all up in a blender and heat it up. It is fast and delicious. I topped it with Vermont cheddar. Yum.

Also I'm sad to report I ate the last of the pickled hot peppers. My breakfast every morning is eggs. I fry up some veggies. In the summer it is whatever is on hand. But in the winter it is peppers, onions and mushroom. Then I scramble them and the eggs all together. When I don't have any red peppers to use in the fridge I toss in my pickled jalapenos instead. Yum. This was the last batch of eggs to be made. BTW this is not four eggs. This is two eggs. They both had double yolks. I guess it was a fitting send off of the last peppers. Now breakfast has no home grown produce in it at all. How sad. I'm growing a lot more peppers next year. So hopefully I can freeze some for my breakfasts. I'm going to test if frozen peppers work well first, but I think they will.

I had a minor experiment going to see how things stored in the fridge. In December before the ground froze solid, I picked a lot of Asian greens. I wanted to see how they would last. The results are in. The tatsoi above is from that batch. I can probably keep it two months in the fridge without an issue. The Fun Jen gets a bit dry on its leafy ends, but the rest of the stalks and closer leaf is just fine. The boc choy is OK but not great. It lasts a bit shorter. BTW I store my greens in a large tupperware container with a towel on the bottom of it. It seems to keep greens better than any other way I've done it. Nothing slimes out. The greens get enough air, but it is small enough that the air stays very moist. It works well.

Tatsoi picked at the beginning of Dec and stored until the end of January

The greens that I picked in January (I saved some tatsoi from that picking to see how it would last) didn't last as long. They really needs to be eaten within a week or two of picking. The partially frozen stalks just can't hold up. This gives me a really good handle on how to save my greens for next year. Basically fill up the fridge as much as possible with them early. Then during winter during thaws only pick enough for a week.

I used the tatsoi in a nice stir fry. Again featuring the chicken mentioned before. Basically it was roast chicken one night. Chicken soup another. Then stirfry. Then the last of the broth in my black bean soup. I still have some shredded chicken left which might go into enchiladas or tacos later this week. A whole chicken lasts a long time in a two person family.

Now for the tally. I've bought seeds from Fedco. My biggest order ever at $74.50 for seeds. Usually it is half that. But then I used to have less than half the space too. And I'm trying new things I haven't ever done (like fava beans) or haven't done in a while (like corn and melons). I have the space for it all now, so I might as well use it. I might order from Pinetree too. Ali was raving over Black Futsu Squash and it seemed perfect for me. But I don't know. It might happen another year. We will see.

I also placed an order with the Northeast Organic Farming Association. A big one so I joined too. I have to laugh at it since our little 9000 sqft lot that I share with another family is by no means a farm. But I figured I would stock up for the next several years with heavy stuff. It costs too much to ship and they sell it so much cheaper than my local shops. I probably won't do this often, but this year seemed like a good one. The total is $454.52. Which is a lot. Yes indeed. But over the long run it will be cheaper. Fertilizers, soil amendments, worm poo, Sluggo, seeds starting soil, netting, irt mulch, twine. I'm wondering how many years it will be before I have to buy it all again. Since it is for more than one year I'm going to amortize it over three years. Some of it will last much longer and some less, but it is a good enough.

I also need to add in things that were already amortized. The beds, soil, tomato cages, concrete bricks, and composter. So far this year I'm down -349.49 and I have more to add in. I need to buy more tomato cages and supports for my beans, cukes and melons. I might get bamboo for that. I liked bamboo in my old garden. It was easy to make any support you needed. I'd like to make an arch over one section of my path and I could do that with bamboo. They sell large bundles of bamboo which I'd have to get. Bamboo is also nice since we are putting in live bamboo along the edge in the shaded spot in the yard. We could harvest to add to the stash as it grows. But I'm still thinking on it. I won't need it for a while.

  • Spent and Amortized total: $-363.49
  • Total harvested for the year 0.59lbs
  • 2011 Tally $-359.38

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.


  1. I've also noticed how homegrown Asian greens have a much longer shelf life then their store-bought you a sense of how long the commercial stuff has been lying around. Either that or they lose a lot of their freshness in the transportation process.

  2. That is good to know about the greens but I hopefully won't use that info too often as I much prefer the produce straight from the garden to my table. I can see in the fall though or spring when the harvest is a little overwhelming on the greens that this would be useful so as not to have to waste them.

  3. Thanks for the helpful info regarding your storage experiment.

  4. Oh, WOW~ 2 double yolkers in one pan. Amazing! The stir fry looks yummy, too. Darn it. It's only 10am and now I'm hungry for lunch! LOL

  5. That's a good tip about the towel in the tuperware container for greens. Thanks. I've made some larger than usual orders too - mostly for trees - for our larger space. It's exciting!

  6. Your garden is going to be mind blowing this summer! I bet it will be a show piece as the beds are so well designed. If you want some Black Futsu seeds let me know as I have extra. I've grown it for the last 3 years so I'm going to trial some other small moschatas this year. Wow I didn't know the Asian greens could keep that long. I'll have to try your method.

  7. If I have enough, I will send you some Futsu Black seeds. I'll check tonight.


  8. I couldn't believe how long our lettuce kept in the fridge. I stored it the same way, in large plastic containers with a paper towel on the bottom. It's good to know that this will work for other greens as well. Sometimes you just have to harvest everything at once.

  9. Thanks for the information on storing the Asian greens. I harvested the last of mine today and will be keeping it in the fridge to use in stir fries for the next week or so...

  10. The towel trick also works well with strawberries, although they certainly won't keep as long as greens.

    This is the first week in a long long time that I've not harvested anything from the garden without the excuse of being out of town. I didn't even cook anything interesting from previous harvests so there's no Harvest Monday post on my blog this week. I'll have something next week though...

  11. I'll bet you're buried under a ton of new snow. Spring will come soon enough. I should be ashamed of myself for not getting out and gardening more, given that we've had almost nothing but sun and temps in the 70s. But I did manage to harvest a lemon and the first of my ginger this week. Stop by and take a peek at the recipe I posted for pork with citrus-soy-ginger sauce. It's fabulous.

  12. Thomas, I also think it is the storage method. Giving them the correct environment is important. A plastic bag just gets them to slime out fast. But you are right. Even in a bag they last longer. It takes a while to get our veggies when we buy from the store.

    Laura, I do too, but our weather gets so cold here that the quality of the before freeze produce is so much better. It's hard to garden with all this snow, though it does make for good insulation. I do store lettuce this way when the hot weather threatens to make it all bolt. It lasts for about three weeks. Which sometimes gives me lettuce in August, when I usually don't have any.

    Robin, your welcome

    Barbie, I was amazed. With the eggs I'm buying now I usually have at least one in a box, but this time it was amazing.

    Ottawa Gardener, I still have to order my trees. And all the rest of the plants for my yard. Right now all we have are small patches of grass. Though I did order the clover to over seed the grass with. I still haven't made a decision about what fruit trees are going where. I'll have to think on it more.

    Jane, I hope so. Ohhh yes I would love some. I love moschatas since I have trouble growing anything else with my nasty borers. They always take down the winter squash before it ripens. I think the Asian greens kept so well because of our cool weather. I'm not so sure they would after a hot summer (or your winter). But I'm sure they would keep a while for you still.

    Ali, Ah two offering me seed :> Well Jane offered first, so I'll ask her to send. Silly for you both to do that. Thanks so much for the offer though.

    GrafixMuse, That method really works so well. I can keep things fresh for so much longer than any other I've used. I use the technique in the summer for spring greens that are threatening to bolt.

  13. Deb, I'm hoping that the greens I have in the tunnel are keeping. I haven't a clue. I guess in the spring thaw I'll find out.

    michelle, I've never tried it with strawberries. I'll have to do that someday. I have weeks like that too.
    Though I have a good recipe that I want to experiment with this week.

    Lou, And more on the way. In the next two days we are supposed to get another foot or more. Sigh.

  14. About freezing peppers - I freeze bell peppers every year. Just wipe clean, cut to size, freeze, bag and label. I dice some and cut some into slices for different dishes. They don't stay crisp of course, but work very well for cooking. I freeze them on trays and then bag so I can shake out what I need if I don't package to recipe size.

  15. How neat that both eggs had a double yolk! What a great way to use one roasted chicken! I love tatsoi greens, or any asian greens for that matter. When we bought our new fridge, it came with this amazing vegetable crisper drawer. It keeps our greens healthy for such a long time.

  16. U'm just catching up with your blog as I've been very lazy with reading and commenting lately. I've got lots of peppers that I froze in the summer. No good in salads of course, but great for casseroles and roasted veggie dishes.